Well, the numbers aren’t perking up for Kings, but the series continues to keep up the strong writing and excellent performances.
Having only watched one episode of Deadwood, I never knew of the kick-ass-ness of Ian McShane. But I know now. Ian McShane is just filled with awesome and win. Him as King Silas Benjamin is such a commanding performance and really just adds to the series’ already engrossing world.
This week, the events of the first few episodes seemed to culminate; David being away from his family has seemed to slowly distance him from them, Jack’s feeling of always being , Michelle being one-part naïve, one-part trying to make a difference, and Uncle William’s efforts to bring down Silas.
David, being slightly naïve himself, continues his allegiance to the King and in the process alienates himself from his family. With Silas sticking to his word in turning over Port Prosperity (which is where the Shepherd family farm is) to Gath, he decides to turn over the entire territory, all of Gilboa north of the river. That same land David’s father and brother died fighting for.
Despite David’s personal connection to the land, he fulfills the King’s wishes and publicly expresses his support for the ceding of land. This leads to David’s brother and a group of people from the area to start an uprising against the King. Forces are called to control the growing number of protests against the handing over of land.
Meanwhile, Uncle William continues to plot against his brother-in-law. He continues to poke Jack into joining the cause, but he still isn’t 100%. Jack asks for a favor that could help him decide; a stake in UNN, the country’s largest news organization. He plans to have UNN be more critical, be the rogue news outlet that doesn’t cater to the King’s every whim and provides the opposing views for the people of Gilboa to hear.
Enter Katrina Ghent (played awesomely by Leslie Bibb!), a filthy rich former-centerfold that wants to buy a Ministry position. Silas says Thanks, but no thanks, but later it appears he asks her to buy the majority shares of UNN to stop Jack’s plans of giving the opposing voice to the crown.
Silas goes fishing as the riots continue at Port Prosperity. Thomasina bluntly tells him that he’s different, cold and mean since he stopped going to “Serenity,” the code word for his “other” family in the country. Thomasina’s astute observation gets her a promotion later on after relative calm has set in, much to her surprise.
But before that, at Port Prosperity, local law enforcement open fire on the protesters, with David’s brother Nathan being hit in the arm. They hole up in a warehouse on the Port and they ready to arm themselves. They were planning this all along. David is shocked and can not understand why his brother is doing all of this.
Michelle, hoping to keep her father in a positive light with the people of Gilboa, goes herself to the docks to talk with the protesters. She offers a deal, for them to stand down and they be granted amnesty. While she’s there on her own accord, her father will have no choice but to honor that promise she’s making.
One of the protesters instead sees this as an opportunity. They take Michelle hostage. This is what finally gets Silas to do something. He orders troops to the Port.
Revered Samuels, who had just met with Uncle William at church, drives towards the Port. He is stopped as trucks pass, but he looks up at a smoke stack and the familiar orange Gilboan flag. Suddenly, the wind changes, but as the smoke changes directions and begins blowing relative to the west, the flag continues blowing east. He takes it as a sign from God and drives off.
He’s got sharpshooters ready to take out anyone not his daughter in the warehouse, but David goes to him and pleads with him to give him a chance to talk them out of it.
Silas grants him his wish and David goes to talk to them, especially his brother.
While all this is happening, Uncle William is meeting with what seems to be a group of ministers who are likely also willing to join the “Down with Silas” campaign. Uncle gets a text message, however, to get out of this building meeting immediately and as he gets into his getaway car, the ministers at the table are ambushed. It turns out the person who warned him is General Linus, Silas’ right hand. He feels Silas has gotten too soft. He wants to join the cause as well.
Back to David, he is trying to talk his brother out of what they are doing and surrender. Ethan isn’t liking what David is saying and jumps him, both landing on the floor. Silas orders the sharpshooters and everyone but Michelle and the brothers are shot. Still on the floor, David sees another one of the protesters reach for a gun, he stands up and goes to cover Michelle with the protester aiming straight at his back. He is shot instead, by Ethan, who saves both David and Michelle’s life.
At the castle, Silas tells Jack that gifts from Uncle are rarely “gifts.” “You push me to prove myself and cut me down when I try to aspire. It doesn’t exactly encourage,” he says to his father, who then offers him a Ministry position, but only behind the scenes. My understanding, he’ll be the brains behind Katrina’s face in the seat, giving him a taste of what having power is all about.
Later, Silas promises to let Ethan into David’s custody if he promises Ethan will stand trial for his treasonous actions. David agrees and personally drives his brother home. Ethan tells David not to speak to him (or the rest of their family) anymore, walks into the house with their mother standing at the door. She gives a disapproving and disappointed look and silently walks inside, closing the door behind her.
The world they have created is so engrossing and interesting even though what is seen on screen is almost as realistic and true to life as what we see on the news everyday. Despite the fanciful pomp that comes with a monarchy, the way things work behind a government and the people affected by the decisions of that government, it is all very relatable stuff.
The acting continues to be superb with McShane a force to be reckoned with. And Chris Egan plays David with innocence, but conviction.
There is so much story to tell with these characters, it is hard to imagine what won’t be touched upon after episode 13 is over. (And let’s hope 13 won’t be the last!)